Ross Evolution LTX Reel Review and Field Test

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ross-reels-usa.jpgRichard Post
Telluride Angler

The Evolution LTX is Ross’s newest reel, replacing the longstanding and much-loved Evolution LT. The LTX features a modern design, improved drag, truly large arbor spool, the Ross phenolic handle and other signature details.  They arrived in the shop last month, but I had the opportunity to fish with them over the winter and spring.  This is a wonderful new reel that our customers will be pleased to own and fish themselves.

Ross LTX Drag System

The drag on the LTX consists of a stack of alternating discs, providing even tensioning through a wide range.The Evo LTX drag is based on the stacked alternating disc system Ross developed in the Evo R. While similar in design, the LTX drag is smaller and produces an appropriate amount of pressure for this reel class rather than the extreme drag pressure found in the Evo R. Ross did a great job improving the drag from the Evo LT without going completely overboard. The drag in the 7/8 size certainly feels bonefish and redfish worthy, and the smaller sizes have more than enough strength for trout fishing. Ross shields the LTX’s drag behind an oil impregnated bronze bushing that rotates around a stainless steel spindle.  The feel of the detents lies somewhere between an incremental click and a continuous smooth rotation.  In tightening, the drag knob passes through two full rotations. The drag knob is easy to find and easy to operate, perfect.

Spool Design

The handsome and solid Ross Evolution LTX reel.The spool to frame interface is the press-fit type. The spool confidently snaps onto the frame with just the right amount of pressure and seats solidly in place. I like this style of connection on this reel and it allowed the reel to maintain a very clean and slim silhouette. The spoke-style machining is extensive and intelligent, leaving the reel light but very solid. Ross even machined a groove into the center of the spool to hide the backing knot. If you’re the kind of fisherman that likes to dress up their fly reels with a loud backing color, this is a reel you ought to check out. Backing and fly line look great with the amount of arbor that is exposed.

Handle, Counterbalance and Other Details

The color of the phenolic handle matches the drag knob on the Evolution LTX. A machined canvas phenolic handle is used and it matches the drag knob on both colors. Ross is using these handles on the Evo R, Evo R Salt, Colorado LT and now the new Evo LTX and Gunnison. I like these handles on the reel winder and on the water. A handle is a small but important piece of the fly reel and it’s nice to see a manufacturer take a little more time here. Other touches include a leader groove machined into the frame to keep your leader wrapped around the outside of the reel frame and kink free. The counter balance is the same one used on the all-time classic San Miguel, and Ross knocked it out of the park with the drag knob. It has a look that is eye catching while being simple and highly functional. I think the RR logo on the silver beveled edge coin surrounded by the bronze knob is flat out great looking. The finish on both Black and Platinum is glossy but not gaudy.

Thoughtful engineering and extensive machining result in a lightweight, structurally solid fly reel.The LTX is exactly what you expect from Ross in a trout reel. Smart looks and no-nonsense performance on the water. The large arbor picks up line in a hurry and allows the line to lay in bigger coils on the reel (think less line stretching before fishing and less tangles throughout the day). The drag system is smooth and finding the drag knob is intuitive while you have a fish on the line.

Fishing the Ross Evolution LTX Reel

With Telluride Angler friends, I’ve fished the Evo LTX on several rivers this spring, including the Gunnison, Colorado and Dolores.  In early March on the Colorado River, we got into a lovely BWO hatch:  size 18 BWO dries, a Scott G Series 886/4 and Rio Fluoroflex Plus 6X tippet. We caught 14-16 inch rainbows that ran into the current and we managed to get those fish to the net despite the 6X and a 6-weight. This says a lot for the reel, and a lot for the Scott G Series, too.

What's the difference between field testing and fishing? A new reel onboard.Ross Evolution LTX Reel lands a terrific brown on light tippet.The Ross Evo LTX puts great fish in the net.

Rod Pairings for the LTX

Here’s a quick list of some of our favorite rods that balance well with the new Evo LTX:

Evo LTX 3/4: Scott G Series 843/3, 844/4 and 883/4. Sage Little One 382, 482

Evo LTX 4/5: Scott G Series 884/4, 885/4. Scott Radian 854/4. Sage X 486

Evo LTX 5/6: Sage MOD 690. Sage X 590, 691. Scott Radian 905/4, 906/4FB. Scott G Series 886/4, Loomis NRX LP 590-4

Evo LTX 7/8: Sage X 790. Scott Radian 907/4

[Evolution LTX Page]